Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — Sen. Chuck Grassley visited Henry County Wednesday, June 29 as a stop on his 99 county tour.
Grassley greeted the room with an invitation for open communication.
“The best way to communicate with people is when I can see you and you can see me,” Grassley said. “I’m inviting communication when we can’t meet face to face …. Two way communication is the essence of representative government.”
Those in attendance were ready with comments and questions, but Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Kristi Perry made sure to break the ice.
“You’re always welcome in Henry County, even if you’re not in Russia,” Perry said to Grassley.
Grassley encouraged the group to set the agenda for the duration of the event.
According to Grassley, the three biggest issues he hears about as he meets with constitutes are the cost of living, price of gasoline, and lack of enforcement of immigration at the border.
Those in attendance brought issues of worker shortages, supply chains, and inflation to Grassley.
District 9 Iowa Corn Promotion Board Representative, Chair of the Iowa Corn Research and Business Development, and Danville farmer Stan Nelson asked Grassley to address the Next Generation Fuel Act.
Grassley originally responded with information about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which requires a new issuance for ethanol volumes beginning 2023.
“Does that answer your question?” Grassley asked, but when Nelson called the answer close enough, Grassley responded, “Well, let’s make it closer.”
“The Next Generation fuel act will replace the RFS and gives us a higher octane low carbon fuel. So that the automakers to have new fuel to build engines for.” Nelson said.
“We’ve run all we can out of gasoline. The same gas we put in our lawn mowers as we put in our new cars,” Nelson continued. “The Next Generation Fuel Act will make manufactures make engines that run a different kind of fuel.”
“I’m going to be voting for it,” Grassley said.
In connection with gasoline, Henry County Board of Supervisors member Marc Lindeen asked Grassley about the loss of tax credits in light of the gas tax holiday over the summer.
The suspension of federal gas taxes is intended to lower the cost of gasoline by 18 cents.
As a county supervisor, however, Lindeen is concerned how the counties will fair in light of the lack of that tax money.
Grassley affirmed that he is against the proposed gas tax holiday due to the belief that it will only worsen inflation.
Perry had concerns surrounding the need for workers in the dwindling workforce, and asked the senator about immigration policies that could bring in more workers.
“I need 500 workers today,” Perry said. “Are we getting any closer to figuring out how to utilize those immigrating here more efficiently and faster and quicker so we can get some workers in those factories that need them? We need to make that process quicker.”
“I don’t know that I have a very food answer,” Grassley said. “We need more bureaucrats processing.”
In response to Perry’s question, Grassley spoke about people choosing to stay home due to pandemic payments.
“Trump and some democrats wanted to extend those payments to stay home,” Grassley said. “It was quite a problem when we paid people more to not work than work. A lot of those people saved the money and when it stopped they decided to stay home until the money runs out.”
“There are just more jobs than there are people.” Perry responded.
When further asked about the issue of the dwindling workforce with incoming generations literally having fewer people to fill the spaces of those retiring, Grassley then responded with more about immigration.
“We had a pretty secure border before,” he said. “We were building the fence and it was working, but this President stops building so he is poison to the water of getting a bipartisan agreement on immigration reform.”
Many of Grassley’s answers centered on the need for bipartisan agreement.
“I’ll give you three areas I am working on,” Grassley said. “One is lowering prescription drug prices. One is to take on Big Tech, particularly Amazon and Google … and an agriculture bill that supports cattle feeders.”
Many issues remained without a clear answer at the end of the event, however, Grassley encourages constitutes to attend town halls and other 99 county tour stops to speak with him face to face about the issue which most concern them.